Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 25, 2008
The Olmert-Livni-Barak government is apparently maneuvering to stand down on
Iran, and they’d like the US to be blamed for their timidity. A careful
reading of a bizarre article in Sunday’s edition of Ha’aretz brings this
point home clearly.
The report details Israel’s recent agreement with the US to deploy the
X-Band high powered early warning radar system in Israel. The system will be
manned by a team of three US military personnel from a trailer somewhere in
The US’s willingness to deploy the system is largely the consequence of
ardent lobbying efforts by US Congressman Mark Kirk. Kirk’s successful push
for the deployment of the X-Band system in Israel is a great boon for the
country’s defensive capabilities. The X-Band system can detect incoming
missiles from 500-600 miles. Currently, Israel’s early warning system is
only able to detect missiles from 100 miles out. The earlier detection
capacity means that in the event of an Iranian attack, Israel’s Arrow
missiles will be able to intercept and destroy incoming missiles before they
reach Israeli territory and so even their debris will fall outside the
BUT ACCORDING to unnamed Israeli “defense officials” who spoke with
Ha’aretz, the price that Israel will be forced to pay for this increased
defensive capacity is prohibitive. Those “defense officials” claim that the
US forced Israel to agree that in exchange for the X-Band system, Israel
will not attack Iran either preemptively or retroactively without US
permission, because were Israel to attack Iran, the three American guys and
their trailer could become a target for an Iranian missile.
If Ha’aretz and the “defense officials” are right, then that means that
Defense Minister Ehud Barak – who concluded the deal with US Defense
Secretary Robert Gates during his visit to Washington last month – agreed to
concede Israel’s right to take whatever action it deems necessary to prevent
its national destruction. Barak conceded Israel’s right to prevent its own
annihilation in exchange for three guys and a trailer and the capacity to
live with a greater sense of security under Iranian nuclear threat. This
sense of security will last for as long as Iran doesn’t develop
satellite-based warheads or for as long as Iran doesn’t prove the X-Band
radar or the Arrow 3 missiles incapable of actually intercepting incoming
Since Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and all their
colleagues in the government have been silent on the deal, it can be assumed
that they back Barak’s move. So again, acting on the authority of the entire
Kadima-Labor-Shas government, according to “defense officials,” and
Ha’aretz, Barak just agreed to give up Israel’s right to attack Iran’s
nuclear installations. And the Americans made him do it.
THE HA’ARETZ report did not include any mention of attempts to verify the
“defense officials” claims with the Americans. And in a telephone interview
with The Jerusalem Post on Sunday night, Kirk vociferously denied their
“There is no quid pro quo,” he said.
“You mean that the US did not say that in exchange for deploying the X-Band
system Israel needs to receive US permission to attack Iran?”
“No, the US made no such demand,” Kirk said.
“The basic idea is that a US ally getting nuked is a bad thing. The X-Band
system increases the likelihood that such an attack would fail,” he
Moreover, far from sending a message that the US would work to block an
Israeli preemptive attack against Iran, Kirk argued that the deployment of
the X-Band system manned by a US crew “will send a message to Iran, that
Israel has powerful political support from its ally against any Iranian
Kirk also argued that the US will support a decision by Israel’s government
to attack Iran. As he put it, “If the Israeli government makes the difficult
decision [that it must launch a preemptive attack against Iran], that is
when Israel will need its allies the most. And that is when the US will be
called in to show what it means to have us as an ally.”
So if Kirk – the US official most responsible for the X-Band deal – flatly
denies that the US is using the X-Band deployment to prevent Israel from
attacking Iran, what were those unidentified “defense officials” who spoke
with Ha’aretz trying to achieve by making false allegations against the US?
And why did Ha’aretz’s reporters not bother to call Kirk or the Pentagon to
verify their amazing claims?
SADLY, THE answer is clear. Those “defense officials” were carrying out what
has become standard practice for Israeli leftists over the past 15 years.
They were working to demoralize the Israeli public into believing that it is
inevitable that we cannot defeat our enemies or take any effective military
steps to protect ourselves from their aggression.
For its part, in its unquestioning reporting of the story, Ha’aretz was
doing what the Israeli media – led by Ha’aretz – has been doing since 1993.
It was helping leftist politicians demoralize the public into believing that
we have no option of defeating our enemies and must therefore simply try to
appease them as best we can, hunker down behind high walls and shields, and
hope someone else will defend us.
Since the Rabin-Peres government reversed what had been Israeli policy since
1967 and in 1993 decided to embrace the PLO – a terrorist organization
dedicated to the destruction of the country – as a peace partner, every
single leftist government has claimed that Israel has no ability to defend
itself. In 1993, the government embraced the radical Left’s unsubstantiated
claim that it was Israel’s fault the Palestinians wanted to destroy us. And
two years after the IDF ended the Palestinian uprising, the government also
claimed that the IDF couldn’t protect us from Palestinian terror and that
Yasser Arafat would do a better job of defending us than our own army.
The media supported their absurd claims and demonized their critics as
warmongers, extremists and enemies of peace.
Then there was Barak’s disastrous unilateral withdrawal of IDF forces from
south Lebanon in May 2000. Barak embraced the factitious claims of the
radical anti-Zionist Left that the only reason Hizbullah was attacking
Israel was because IDF forces were deployed in south Lebanon. Like the
radical Left, Barak promised that once Israel withdrew, Hizbullah would
disband its army and become just another peaceful political party in
The media, for their part lobbied obsessively for the withdrawal. All
withdrawal opponents were demonized as warmongers, extremists and enemies of
THEN THERE was the Palestinian terror war which began in September 2000. For
a year and a half, as the Israeli casualty count mounted daily, the
Sharon-Peres government told us that we had no military option to defeat the
terrorists. The US would abandon us if we attacked the Palestinian Authority
and anyway, the IDF was no match for terror cells.
The media for their part pushed the narrative of Israeli helplessness. All
proponents of military victory were demonized as warmongers, extremists and
enemies of peace
Despite the IDF’s successful defeat of terror forces in Judea and Samaria
during and subsequent to Operation Defense Shield in April 2002, it took the
leftist politicians and their media flacks no time to reinstate their
narrative of Israeli powerlessness. Within weeks of the defeat of the terror
forces in Judea and Samaria, the Labor Party, the media and later former
prime minister Ariel Sharon argued that Israel could do nothing to defend
against Gazan terror and therefore, should simply withdraw its forces and
civilians from the Gaza Strip.
And again, those who pointed out that Israel had never really tried to
defeat the terror networks in Gaza were silenced. Those who warned that Gaza
would become the new south Lebanon were demonized as warmongers and
extremists and enemies of peace.
Hizbullah’s offensive against Israel in July 2006 was an unwelcome
development for the Olmert-Livni-Peretz government and the media. It was the
war their opponents had warned would come as a result of ill-conceived
Israeli withdrawals. They wanted that war to go away as quickly as possible.
Refusing to fight the war with any determination, they told the public that
we had no interest in winning. We didn’t want to get bogged down again the
Lebanese “mud,” they said. There was no “military solution,” they
pronounced. The US, they lied, opposed an Israeli ground invasion of
Lebanon. Only the UN and the Hizbullah-dominated Lebanese military could
defend Israel, they claimed.
So they sued for a cease-fire, which as their critics warned, paved the way
for Hizbullah’s takeover of Lebanon. And the media praised their wisdom and
silenced their critics by castigating the latter as warmongers, extremists
and enemies of peace.
THIS THEN is the historical backdrop against which the government’s current
attempt to demoralize the public into believing that it is futile to attempt
an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations is being carried out. But there is
a qualitative difference between the government’s newest attempt to wriggle
out of its responsibility to defend the country and its previous
derelictions of duty.
This is the first time that the threat the government seeks to ignore is
actually capable of annihilating the country. By claiming again here that
the US will abandon us if we attack, the government is telling us that we
have no choice other than to live in a world where a regime openly committed
to destroying our country and our people has the means to carry out their
designs. And in its unquestioning parroting of the government’s line, the
media is collaborating with this unacceptable state of affairs.
If there was ever a situation requiring the public to take to the streets,
this is it.
Since Israel’s founding, there has been an unspoken social compact between
the public and our government. We all understand that existential threats
have to be defeated. We don’t discuss these things. We simply trust our
governments to protect us.
The Ha’aretz report signals that the current government is breaching this
compact by preparing its case for inaction. This situation simply cannot be
allowed to stand. And given that we are now in elections season, a public
outcry today has the capacity to force our media to cover this story and so
compel our politicians to either fulfill their part of the bargain or step
While the US is happy to augment our defensive capacity, the Pentagon has
been clear that it will not attack Israel’s enemies for us. That is our job.
And we the Israeli public must compel our leaders to do their job.